'Needs to stop': Tennis fans fume over 'nasty' Stefanos Tsitsipas act

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Stefanos Tsitsipas, pictured here appearing to hit the ball at Carlos Alcaraz on purpose.
Stefanos Tsitsipas appeared to hit the ball at Carlos Alcaraz on purpose. Image: Tennis TV/Getty

Tennis fans were left less than impressed on Friday night when Stefanos Tsitsipas appeared to hit the ball at Carlos Alcaraz on purpose in their thrilling quarter-final clash in Barcelona.

Spanish sensation Alcaraz thrilled the parochial home crowd by beating top seed and last year's finalist Tsitsipas 6-4 5-7 6-2.

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The 18-year-old improved his head-to-head record over the Greek World No.5 to 3-0 in a pulsating and at-times spiteful encounter.

Things threatened to boil over after Alcaraz won the first set when Tsitsipas appeared to intentionally hit the ball at his opponent.

Tsitsipas whistled the ball straight past Alcaraz's head after the Spanish teenager advanced to the net, sending the ball long to hand Alcaraz the first set.

Alcaraz glared at Tsitsipas as he walked to his chair, with the raucous home crowd booing the Greek star.

Tsitsipas' father and coach Apostolos appeared bewildered by the booing and said "for what?" as he watched on from the stands.

Fans took to social media to condemn Tsitsipas, blasting the World No.5 for the dangerous act and suggesting he should have apologised to Alcaraz.

Alcaraz to meet De Minaur in Barcelona semi-final

On Monday, Alcaraz will become the 20th teenager to break into the ATP top 10 - and the first since Andy Murray in 2007.

He will be ninth-youngest player to break into the top 10 and youngest since Rafael Nadal in 2005.

The Spaniard will face Alex de Minaur in the semi-finals after the Aussie overcame Cameron Norrie to win 6-3 5-7 6-1.

While Australia's No.1 was celebrating his best-ever clay-court run on Friday, he would have been the first to admit fortune had blessed him.

With persistent rain forcing the players to tackle two matches in one day, de Minaur got lucky as his last-16 opponent Lloyd Harris had to retire due to injury after just 20 minutes.

De Minaur then Norrie in the quarter-finals, with the Briton appearing out on his feet after having subdued Marton Fucsovics in a draining three hour and 25 minute battle.

Carlos Alcaraz, pictured here celebrating after beating Stefanos Tsitsipas at the Barcelona Open.
Carlos Alcaraz celebrates after beating Stefanos Tsitsipas at the Barcelona Open. (Photo by Pedro Salado/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)

De Minaur reeled off 12-straight points to take control against Harris, and with the South African in obvious discomfort the match was over when the Aussie wrapped up the set 6-0.

It gave de Minaur a massive advantage before having to face Norrie, who was still battling Fucsovics 7-5 6-7 (9-11) 6-4 in a ferocious marathon.

Norrie managed to grab the second set from de Minaur to extend the match, but it was clear the fresher player had the advantage in the decider to wrap up proceeds in two hours and 10 minutes.

In reaching the Barcelona semis, de Minaur has already matched his 2021 clay court win total (4) this season, while Alcaraz is aiming for his third trophy of the season after winning in Rio de Janeiro in February and Miami this month.

"I'm playing an incredible level. And I think that I'm ready to get the title," Alcaraz said after his win over Tsitsipas, who won his second straight Monte-Carlo Masters title last week.

Earlier in the day, Tsitsipas swept aside Grigor Dimitrov 6-1 6-4 while Alcaraz won an all-Spanish match against Jaume Munar 6-3 6-3.

with AAP

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